Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plan sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.
Together Ethan and Lena can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.
Leaving off almost exactly where Beautiful Creatures ended, I had extremely high hopes for the sequel. However, the first hundred pages completely turned me off to Lena. I had understood most of her whining and complaining from Beautiful Creatures, but half of this book I wanted to punch her in the face. Ethan, sweet, almost-too-perfect Ethan finds Lena dancing and nearly-kissing a strange, mysterious Incubus, and hours later, she accuses Ethan of cheating on her! And yet, I could see why he kept going after her; who would ignore the love of their lives just because she's being a bitch? Okay, so, I got the ending and all, and I was happy with the outcome (kind of... it was fitting to say the least) but the journey there made me hate Lena so much I still kind of hate her now. I know she was reacting to Macon's death and her own decisions, but still, you can't erase all her hurtful behavior so easily. Ethan was great, once again, and saved the novel from becoming tedious. While I sort of, kind of, stopped wanting him to be mine, it was mostly because I wanted him to get Lena if only for the sake of Ethan getting his way, instead of Lena. The story line a lot of twists, to say the least, but one thing I found fantastic was that while the authors did backtrack slightly to change a few of the previously set Caster rules, it was tastefully done, and it made sense. I can't tell you how many authors backtrack, rewrite laws and rules and facts, and it makes no sense. But it was perfectly done in Beautiful Darkness. Overall, a great book, though it did fall ever so slightly short of my expectations. Oh, one other thing: my affections have fallen with Link; he's just so dang cute with his Southern accent and cluelessness. The ending just sealed the deal, too; so back off girls.
4.5 stars (grr Lena) and a recommendation to fans of the series. Read Beautiful Creatures first for sure.